Updated: Oct 13, 2019
What's going on everyone?
New to this Blog? You can follow along from the beginning by starting here.
Previous Week's Post: The post for Week 2 can be found here.
Want this Curriculum? You can find the full curriculum for this class here.
This Post Covers Days 6-7 of the Unit.
Days 6 and 7 focused on teaching conflict and how the characters Sam and Lonnie both struggle with internal conflict. We started the lesson by going over the various types of conflict (i.e. Person vs. Person, Person vs. Self, Person vs. Society, Person vs. Nature, and Person vs. Machine). I wanted to make sure that we spend ample time discussing conflict because it is a popular choice among students to write about on the English Regents exam.
After going over the various forms of conflict, we read this article "The In Group" from Facing History and Ourselves about bullying. I chose this article because it is about how some people bully others for the sake of fitting in with their peers. The character Sam has a difficult time fitting in with the other students at her school. Although it is subtlety mentioned, Sam is often the victim of bullying. In the game, the player learns that students make comments about where she is, or whisper under their breath about her and even her parents struggle with making a connection with her. Sam's father gave her a book about making friends. After reading the "In Group" article, one of my students recognized that people are often tools for hatred and that "sometimes you as a human beings do stuff that you only do to fit into someone or something that is not even helping to share the real you." I believe this student is trying to say that we often let our biases affect how we treat others when there could have been a better way to present who you truly are.
We really get to the meat of the story during this lesson. Both Sam and Lonnie begin to figure out how to express their feelings for one another. Up until this point there have been hints that both girls are gay, but have not quite come to terms with their sexuality. As their friendship blossoms they gradually become closer and more willing to share their feelings. A challenge that people in the LGBTQ+ community have always faced, especially while in school, is coming out to those around them. It's an internal conflict that needs to be dealt with, but has not always been easy to do so. Sam and Lonnie both want to tell each other how they feel, but they are unsure whether or not the other shares these feelings, let alone is actually attracted to the other. You can observe that this student says "the journal confirm that Sam and Lonnie are lesbian but they're having a conflict with society because they cannot express their love for each other." Remember that this game takes place during the 90s, the era of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Teenagers already have a difficult time properly expressing how they feel, so the fact that both girls are gay adds an extra complexity.
Day 7 began with another article, "Finding Confidence," from Facing History. This passage from Cameron Tuttle "explains how her need for acceptance shaped her experience when she was in high school and came to understand that she was gay."This student inferred from the article that "it can be so hard to be all open with a society that is close."This relates to Sam in Gone Home, who is consistently struggling with being herself around others, through no fault of her own. This pressure from society creates an internal conflict that makes it difficult to accept oneself because they are outside the "norm." It is in this section of the game that we learn that Lonnie plans on joining the military after graduating from high school. As mentioned before, this is during the era of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Sam understandably doesn't fully understand this decision because Lonnie would have to lie about herself while serving.
While Sam and Lonnie do finally express their feelings to one another and start dating, I wanted to push my students to think about what it means to accept oneself. As you can see for the final question this student responded that, "to be accept oneself means to understand your feelings and somehow demonstrate, but Sam haven't accept herself fully because she haven't said anything to her parents."
Week 3 definitely fostered some of the stronger conversations about Gone Home so far. My students were having honest conversations about bullying, relationships, and sexuality. I believe the nature of the game lends to this because you build a relationship with the characters before learning about their sexual orientation. My students have even spoke at length of how they have judged people in the LGBTQ+ community because of their own preconceived notions and biases. Next week we are going to learn more about the consequences of being gay in the 90s.
Thanks for reading,
Next week's post can be read here.